Customer Service Still Not a Priority for Businesses: What Gives?

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

4/29/15 12:38 PM

Priorities_ImageAlmost any blog you read on the topic of customer service will tell you the same thing: customer care (i.e. retention, loyalty, quality of service, diminished churn) must be a top priority for organizations. A sea of related statistics and market research corroborates this sentiment. For example, according to aggregated research from HR consulting firm Adecco, 15 percent of customers will abandon a company due to poor customer service; meanwhile, loyalty from one customer can be worth 10 times as much as one-time purchase.

If it’s well understood that customer service is intrinsically linked to a brand’s profitability, why are a number of businesses still downplaying its importance? Specifically, a new research report from Oracle found that although many service organizations today have graduated to newer and more intuitive customer service tools, 62 percent do not fully grasp the importance of customer service and the impact it can have throughout an entire organization. 

Although nearly 90 percent of businesses believe they are making notable progress on the customer service front, challenges remain that prevent them from leveraging customer service as part of an organization-wide strategy.

It’s worth noting, however, that these findings do not indicate that companies lack an understanding of the importance of customer service; rather, they do not know how to strategically leverage customer service in order to make a company-wide impact.

The reasons why companies are likely inadvertently putting customer service to the wayside include: 

  • Misunderstanding the role of the service center: The majority of executives surveyed said they consider customer service a “post-purchase function”—that is, a process that takes place after a customer has financially purchased something—rather than a strategic tool for retaining more customers, upselling and cross-selling and bolstering their brand and marketing images.

  • Letting concerns of technology upgrades deter them: Among those companies that have not yet graduated to newer and more improved technologies, concerns related to system integration, cost, implementation, and lack of support can discourage them from making necessary improvements to customer service as an organization-wide initiative. 

There are a few ways to overcome these challenges depending on the obstacle that is being faced. For instance, if the definition of customer service is skewed, contact center managers can equip their agents with quick yet thorough training, coaching and personal development resources to transform agent interactions, taking them from more than just a “post purchase function.” These kinds of resources can include call or screen recordings that agents can have played back for them to pick up on where they can improve in future customer interactions; customized evaluations that assess individual agent performance; and online courses and learning lessons.

Furthermore, contact center managers and decision makers should be considering a data analytics solution, which enables them to capture data from all service channels in order to make organization-wide improvements from sales to back office functionalities like billing to marketing. The data captured and analyzed from each and every service interaction can indicate to contact center managers where improvements must be made on a higher-level, and can also enable them to conduct predictive analyses for ensuring better service moving forward.

Topics: Contact Center Technology, Customer Service Best Practices